Truck Cargo Thieves Turn to “Jamming” for Heists

AUSTIN, TX – Truck cargo thieves have a new weapon in their arsenal when it comes to trying to steal high-value freight, even if its every movement is being tracked.

The logistics-security services provider FreightWatch International reports investigators in Georgia earlier this month discovered jamming equipment used in previous cargo thefts in the southeast U.S. was recovered.

It reports this is the fourth jamming device confiscated in the past 14 months in the region and its discovery is believed to be associated with a known group of Cuban cargo thieves operating along the eastern seaboard. The Cuban cargo thieves are also associated with at least two previous incidents where jamming devices were used during attempted cargo thefts, according to FreightWatch.

In July 2014, a tractor and trailer hauling pharmaceutical products was stolen from a truck stop in Cartersville, GA. The truck was equipped with at least one tracking device concealed within the cargo.  Evidence suggests that the thieves attempted to deploy two separate jamming devices to interrupt the communication of possible tracking devices on the shipment. The jamming was unsuccessful and law enforcement was able to track the shipment and recover the product intact.

In August 2014, an organized cargo theft element stole a shipment of copper also in Cartersville, GA, following a similar pattern and employment of jamming equipment.  Jamming equipment reduced the effectiveness of tracking technology and also interfered with law enforcement communications equipment.  Authorities located the stolen shipment several miles away later that day. Investigations have so far resulted in four Cuban cargo thieves being charged and extradited from Miami, FL with five other states also awaiting extradition.

While the employment of jamming technology remains rare, this recent recovery of a jamming device from known cargo criminals is worth highlighting, according to FreightWatch. 

“The effectiveness of jamming technology varies greatly depending on several factors, but jammers have the potential to create challenges with the recovery process when countermeasures are not in place,” FreightWatch said in a bulletin.

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